Studying online has become a very popular option for postgraduate students.
However, there are some subjects that at the postgraduate level lend themselves to studying online more than others, and some subjects that require somewhat different approaches if selected for online study. Let’s take a look at some of the subject options.
English, History & other humanities
If your subject area is based around the written word such as English, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies and History, then you will probably find that it is a great option for e-learning. Plenty of reading material is available online and many university libraries will allow other students to use their services or post out books to you. This means that most of your course work can be online and sessions or lectures that are held on-campus are now easily swapped with online video conferencing.
Medical & Health courses
Those working within Medicine and Healthcare do not usually leave their job roles to undertake further study and are often conducting postgraduate courses as part of their Continuing Professional Development. This means that many medical schools and universities, such as the University of Edinburgh, have been offering online courses for medical professionals for many years. Sometimes there are short sessions held on-campus for a week or two to allow courses to conduct sessions that can only be in-person such as practising certain medical procedures with the remaining learning done online.
Lab- or studio-based courses
Some subjects, such as Chemistry, Biology, Architecture and other Design courses are difficult to teach in online format, however, this does not mean that they do not exist. In many cases these courses will have brief on-campus sessions like MArch courses, and others, such as the MSc in Analytical Science at the University of Manchester, are completely online. Masters programs in subjects such as Dance or Fine Art are heavily studio based, making online study in these areas more difficult and again online versions of these subjects will often have on-campus sessions.
Any professional course that has had a long heritage of distance learning, for example, many Agriculture or Forestry courses, are easily done online. Many courses – such as Teaching – are also easily conducted online along with courses that are directly related to your career such as a Master in Laws, Engineering or Accountancy. These courses usually rely on the students to have a job role to refer to for completing assignments and also contacts within the industry to speak with to extend knowledge.
When networking Is important
For some courses, such as a Masters of Business Administration or for certain PhD students moving into an academic career, online courses are a little more difficult because of the importance of networking to their future career paths. Students who are undertaking an MBA or a PhD online should do their best to attend networking events either on-campus, such as the sessions at Imperial College London or with PhD student meetings to connect with other students or future work contacts.
This table shows some examples of postgraduate programs that aren’t necessarily considered to be ideal for online study and how they are delivered.